Historic Royal Oak



Biographical Sketches



Sherman Williams and family lived in a house at the southeast corner of Third and the present Williams Streets. Sherman was a son of David Williams, pioneer of Rochester Road north of 13 Mile Road, who homesteaded there in 1824. He donated land for a school that subsequently became known as the "Williams" School. It was from Mr. Sherman Williams that the street derives its name. Photograph taken late in 19th century.
Mr. & Mrs. Sherman Williams .
Frank Knowles was born in Detroit in 1860. He married Eliza A. Watts of Greenfield Township and settled on land given him by his father, east of Main Street to Maxwell and north of Farnum. He was a carpenter by trade and built many houses in Royal Oak. It was his house that was wrecked in the Cyclone of 1893. He was President of the Village for two terms at the turn of the century. His only son, Austin Willis was a town comic, widely known and remembered by residents. Frank died in the influenza epidemic of 1919. He is buried in Royal Oak Cemetery. To see larger picture.
. Frank Lincoln Knowles
Miss Anna Quick was a lifelong resident of Troy township. It was she who is largely credited with maintaining and saving the First Baptist (Greek Cross) Church in the 1980s when attendance had dropped off nearly to zero. She would get up early, drive her horse and wagon into Royal Oak, and start a fire to warm the church before parishioners arrived.
Anna B. Quick .
Joseph H. Morrison, M.D. delivered hundreds of babies in Royal Oak during the 1920s and 30s. His office was located at the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Sixth Street. He served on the School Board, the Charter Commission that drafted the City Charter in 1921, and the first City Commission elected in late 1921. In 1940 he became the first President of the Royal Oak Historical Society. A medal for outstanding work on Royal Oak history is given annually by the Society.
. .Joseph Morrison, M.D., wife and daughter
George A. Dondero graduated from Royal Oak schools and went on, briefly, to become a school teacher. He then attended law school and after graduation began practicing law in Royal Oak. After serving on the School Board, Dondero served on the Charter Commission, and was then elected as first Mayor of the new City of Royal Oak. He later ran for congress where he served for a number of terms in the House of Representatives. It was partly through his work that the St. Lawrence Seaway project was completed. One of the high schools is named for him.

-----> as a Young Man

George A. Dondero .
.. The Perniaks were Polish immigrants who lived just south of the present Oakview Cemetery office. They had about 10 acres. According to Charles Gerhard, their grandson, they were care-takers of the Royal Oak and St. Mary Cemeteries. Mr. Gerhard says they lived there since about 1880, eking out a meager living from the small farm, and on occasion working for Mr. (Edwin?) Starr down Crooks Road and Mr Westfall who had a farm just east of present Red Run Golf Club on 12 Mile Road. For more, see "Royal Oak Twigs and Acorns", pgs. 152-156.
Mr. & Mrs. Perniak, Mr. Charles Gerhard .


Page last changed 03/29/04



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